Friday, June 11, 2010

3 Kingdoms - Chapter One - 9

Romance of the Three Kingdoms
by Luo Guanzhong

15 Cheng Yuanzhi was furious, so he dispatched Deng Mao, his second in command, to mount an offensive. Zhang Fei raised his 1.8 zhang snake lance, and thrust it straight out, piercing the center of Deng Mao's chest with exact precision, who then doubled over and fell from his horse. Having witnessed Deng Mao's demise, Cheng Yuanzhi whipped his horse into action. Raising his sword above his head with a flourish, he went straight after Zhang Fei. Yunchang swung around his large blade, and rode out on his horse at full gallop. Cheng Yuanzhi was completely taken aback at the sight of this, and was unable to react in time. He was cut in two at the point where Yunchang had raised his blade. People in later generations wrote a poem in praise of the two:

16 The heroes exposed the sharp tips of their weapons this morning, one testing his long lance, the other testing his blade.
They displayed their power as they set out for the first time, and the names of these three will shall be exalted from this day forward.

17 All of the bandit rebels saw that Cheng Yuanzhi had been slain, so they threw away their weapons and fled. Xuande led his army in pursuit. There were so many that surrendered, they could not keep count. Triumphantly, they returned. Liu Yan personally came to welcome them back, and to present the troops with gifts in recognition of their deeds. The next day, an official communique was received from Gong Jing, Commandery governor of Qingzhou. It described how the Yellow Turbans had laid siege to the town, and pleaded for assistance. Liu Yan conferred with Xuande. Xuande told him, "I am willing to go and help them." Liu Yan ordered Zou Jing to lead an army of 5,000 men, and head for Qingzhou, accompanied by Xuande, Guan and Zhang. When the bandit rebels saw that reinforcements had arrived, they divided their forces, and haphazardly mounted an attack. Xuande was hopelessly outnumbered, so he retreated for 30 li, and made camp. Xuande discussed the matter with Guan and Zhang, saying, "The bandit rebels are many, and we are few. The only way we can win is if we take them by surprise." He then gave 1,000 soldiers to Lord Guan, and had him hide out on the left side of a hill. Zhang Fei took 1,000 soldiers, and hid out on the right side of the hill. The signal would be the sounding of the gongs, upon which time they would all meet up in unison.

Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from Lays of Ancient Rome by Macaulay.

More About This Story

This is one of four great novels from China, published when it was the most highly civilization in the world. Map shows China at the time of this story.

Chapter Summary: Three brave men swear an oath of allegiance at the feast in the peach gardens; our heroes' first achievement is the vanquishing of the Yellow Turbans.

More information here:
Literature DailyMore of This Series

This translation from Wikipedia. See license CC-BY-SA.